To Ouro Sogui With Love

From Toure

My dearest Jaineba,
I dreamt of you again last night. It was the same dream I have had many times these past months, since you wrote to tell me our son had been born. In it I crossed the threshold of the farmhouse, and saw you there, with our children, smiling, and I heard your voice calling to me. And then, before I could touch you, it disappeared around me, to a field of gray and dust.
I have had the dream many times, my heart. It means nothing, I think, except that I have been too long from Senegal. I never wanted to see France. Or even the other parts of Africa where I was sent before, which the Germans claimed. I never wanted to see much of the world outside our farm, with the sun on my back. I grew peanuts well for the Frenchmen. I was happier in that than when they asked me to be a soldier. I have killed men, my wife. I pray as I should, but I still see their faces in the darkness. I wonder if that gray I dream of is the hell Allah has prepared for me? It is no less than what I have earned, perhaps.
Yet I still wish and hope, one day, I will cross the threshold of my farm again. I will hear the sound of the river in the distance, and your voice singing in the kitchen. The laughter of our daughters, and the cries of our son. Ousmane. My son. I hope to meet my son in this world.
I apologize if these words trouble you, my wife. You are strong, and I know lies would trouble you more. Work for a good harvest, and pray for me.
My love always,

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